Time, suggested Thomas Jefferson, often turns the powerful into tyrants—a curious remark from a person whose legacy still dictates the culture and image of our city’s largest employer. But as C-VILLE assembled its new Power Issue we learned that, in the two years since we last ranked our mightiest locals, time can turn the powerful into just about anything.
Since our 2009 list, we’ve seen both the departure of UVA’s highest-ranking officials, as well as longtime leaders, elected and appointed, in city and county government. We’ve tracked the ascent of new developers, researchers and executives, and learned a thing or two about the folks who pull the strings behind the area’s heaviest curtains. And we’ve continued to ask ourselves how it is, precisely, that men named Capshaw and Craig retain such clout, such oomph. (Not to mention whether the aforementioned oomph will make a tyrant of either.)
Does might make right? Should Charlottesville rise up and fight the power? Only time—and what these 20 do with it—will tell.
1. THE NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN
Teresa Sullivan, UVA President
Well, she escalated quickly. Only one year into the job, and Teresa Sullivan has already climbed to the top of the local heap as the most powerful person in Charlottesville.
Granted, anyone of us in her office would wield some mighty authority. As UVA president, Sullivan employs 20,000 of us, controls the largest real estate holdings in the area and manages a $2.3 billion budget.
Bolstering Sullivan’s No. 1 status is an overriding power vacuum at UVA. Leonard Sandridge, the institution’s (and institutional) Chief Operating Officer, just stepped aside, and his replacement, Michael Strine, was only named last month. Provost Tim Garson left this month, and who knows when a national search will cough up a successor. That leaves Sullivan without much to stand against her will.
Still, Sullivan has her limits. For starters, she answers to the Board of Visitors (members include Nos. 9 and 15 on this list). Moreover, she will likely operate in a narrower channel than her predecessor, John Casteen III. He held the University’s highest post for 20 years and retired at age 67. Sullivan, currently 61, would serve only six years if she stepped down at the same age. Even grad students have longer time horizons.
But Sullivan, who was unable to return requests for comment, appears poised to make the most of her time. UVA’s leader, who previously assembled a “prudence panel” at the University of Michigan to guide her hand in roughly $135 million in budget cuts, told the Chronicle of Higher Education that meeting declines in state funding is “the challenge of the era.” Perhaps she’s the captain to steer us through dire straits. And, with a pledge to add 1,500 new students and 100 new faculty members in the next five years, she’s charted an ambitious course.
2. MAD HATTER OF THE TEA PARTY
Ken Boyd, Albemarle County Supervisor
The Republican revolution will not be televised, but that’s only because public access doesn’t broadcast Albemarle County meetings. And that is precisely where Ken Boyd works his magic, a delicate dance of appeasing business interests, the Tea Party, and voters in his Rivanna district.
First elected county supervisor in 2003, Boyd has been part of the minority and part of deadlocked boards. “It has turned out to be a lot more time consuming than the school board, and much more diverse in the issues we address,” Boyd tells C-VILLE about his tenure. “Additionally, I have learned that you are never going to be able to please everyone, no matter what the issue.”
But recently, Boyd has been able to please himself and his supporters, even if it means frustrating others. Since 2009 brought in Republicans Rodney Thomas and Duane Snow, Boyd has been the majority leader. (The trio is frequently joined by moderate Democrat Lindsay Dorrier.) Following his reelection, Boyd promptly passed a six-point economic vitality plan that calls for increased land development and codifies his particular brand of fiscal austerity.
During a recent meeting, Boyd and his buddies successfully voted Albemarle out of ICLEI, a program that helps local governments monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Dropping the program, which the local Tea Party claimed is a diabolical United Nations agenda, will save Albemarle $1,200 each year, but may carry a greater payoff for Boyd as elections approach. Boyd also called for the Metropolitan Planning Organization to dust off the shelved Western Bypass plan for Route 29N—a request approved by the board after Dorrier changed his vote.
If he wins reelection, and particularly if he is joined by fresh Republican blood from the Scottsville and White Hall districts, Boyd’s dominance will only grow. But reelection is no gimme: the race was close in 2007, his win only by 149 votes over Democratic challenger Marcia Joseph—a difference that Boyd attributes to low voter turnout. A November trip could send Boyd stumbling all the way off the C-VILLE Power Issue come next year.
3. MUSIC MAN WITH AN APPETITE
Coran Capshaw, Entrepreneur extraordinaire
We’re sick of writing about him, he’s sick of us writing about him, many of you are sick of reading about him—but the dude’s influence continues to abide.
Let us, once again, count the ways: the founder of Red Light Management, Coran Capshaw’s organization is responsible for programming almost all live music in town, from the John Paul Jones Arena to the nTelos Wireless Pavilion (which he built) to The Jefferson Theater (which he renovated). Capshaw, along with Hunter Craig (No. 9), built Whole Foods’ new pad on Hydraulic Road. And restaurants in which he owns a stake include Mas, Blue Light Grill, Three Notch’d Grill, Cinema Taco, Ten, Mono Loco and Positively Fourth Street. Oh, and about 40 Five Guys locations in six territories. You can—and probably have—spent many a local evening tossing your money at every stop into Capshaw’s pockets.
Even when you try to leave Charlottesville for music, it’s hard to escape Coran. When industry commentator Bob Lefsetz declared him the third most powerful person in the music industry, he wrote that Capshaw “built an empire when the mainstream wasn’t watching.” The empire includes Starr Hill Presents, which promotes festivals including Bonnaroo, the Mile High Music Festival, and now the Dave Matthews Band Caravan.
Two years ago, we’d pegged him No. 1 amongst the local powers, but he’s stayed relatively quiet on the local business front in recent years. The Biscuit Run development, in which he was an investor, ended up with the state parks department. Still, anyone who can hold firm on what he’s got during times like recent years deserves major props, and Capshaw might be ready to go again. He recently fired back up his Coal Tower project, originally envisioned with 315 residential units and 250,000 square feet of commercial space. That project could help extend Downtown’s pedestrian reach firmly down East Market Street.
4. BIG BROTHER WITH A BLEEDING HEART
Dave Norris, Mayor, City of Charlottesville
Maybe it’s only in Charlottesville that the executive director of the local Big Brothers Big Sisters could be one of the most powerful people in town. But Dave Norris, whose political career started with bleeding heart issues like homelessness and affordable housing, has managed to entrench himself as one of the most influential men in city hall.
After winning a second term on City Council in 2009 as the top vote getter, Norris has continued on as mayor, and seems to steer the city agenda more than any other person in city government. He single-handedly revived the debate over the 2006 community water supply plan. He has continued to rue the Meadow Creek Parkway, keeping the issue from “done deal” status even as the County’s portion readies to open. And Norris has also stayed true to his causes: He was instrumental in launching the city’s first Single Room Occupancy (SRO) facility, which will provide units for homeless and low-income individuals. The city bought the land for $1.55 million in March 2010, and hopes to see the facility opened in one year.
This year’s election promises to help solidify his position, as David Brown, one of his fiercest debating rivals on City Council, is stepping aside. It’s unclear if anyone will immediately take Brown’s place in challenging Norris.
Among the mighty do-gooders that Norris admires? Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Senator Paul Wellstone. “All had the courage of their convictions, and all knew how to forge positive social change through their words and deeds,” he says.
5. BEAN COUNTER FOR THE ORANGE AND BLUE
Colette Sheehy, UVA Vice President for Management and Budget
Though she’s only fourth on the UVA command chain, something tells us that Colette Sheehy’s stock has risen, with her former boss Leonard Sandridge out of the way. As the person most responsible for the $2.3 billion budget, Sheehy has the more detail-level control over University cash flows. She also oversees facilities management, relations with the state government, real estate management and procurement services. (Think about all those lucrative contracts for everything from employee benefits to new computers coming in and out of the University).
Sheehy’s position this high on the list may be temporary—eventually her new boss will find his feet—but until then, her budgetary prowess and oversight is hard to deny.
6. JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED
R. Edward Howell, UVA Medical Center Vice President and CEO
Almost half of UVA’s budget comes and goes at the Medical Center, which accounts for $1 billion in annual revenue and spending.
Ed Howell himself keeps a low profile, at least compared to other outsized personalities in the medical world. But in case you haven’t noticed, the UVA medical complex is a pretty big deal. The emergency room saw 57,210 people last year. The Medical Center’s staff performed 18,951 surgeries in the center’s Operating Room and another 8,000-plus in the Outpatient Surgery Center. The center also employs full-time more than 1,400 nurses. Howell recently oversaw the opening of the $74 million Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center, and recently broke ground on the $141 million Barry & Bill Battle Building, an outpatient services addition to the UVA Children’s Hospital.
Howell tells C-VILLE that he considers former UVA Chief Operating Officer Leonard Sandridge to be an exemplary leader. “Every time I meet with him, I learn something from him,” says Howell. As for his own low profile, it’s no accident. “The most effective leaders don’t always need to call attention to themselves,” he says.
7. READIN’, WRITIN’, AND ‘RITHMETIC
Pam Moran, Albemarle County Schools Superintendent
Leader of county schools since 2005, Pam Moran is the highest paid employee in local government. She oversees the educations of almost 13,000 children each year and manages a $145 million budget—more than the 2011-2012 budget for the entire City of Charlottesville. And speaking of budgets, Moran has proved effective at maintaining school funding despite the austerity push from Ken Boyd (No. 2), who voted to keep the county’s tax rate steady for consecutive budget cycles.
One look at her record, and it starts to look like what Moran says, goes. In March, the School Board proposed a budget nearly identical to one she proposed that would increase school spending by $1.6 million. Her push to integrate new technologies into the school experience—to make herself more available to parents, among other reasons—paved her way to being named one of 10 of the “nation’s tech-savviest supes” in a recent feature. She has also stepped up to challenge the state on rigid Standards of Learning tests, arguing that elementary students should be able to retake the test.
As she tweeted in early June, “power of influence…can’t measure that in a multiple choice item .”
8. HEAD FOR THE HILLS
Jim Haden, Martha Jefferson Hospital President and CEO
Later this year, Martha Jefferson Hospital’s move to Pantops will be complete, the culmination of a vision of expansion that Jim Haden seems most responsible for. The largest nonprofit in the area not named UVA, Martha Jefferson Hospital, with $130 million in net assets in 2009, will relax into its 520,000 square-foot new facility.
What has strengthened Haden’s power in many respects is his benign use of it. The hospital could have abandoned the city and the residential neighborhood where it has been since 1903, sold the property to the highest bidder and dusted its hands off. Given the market timing, that would have made financial sense. But Haden helped steer a more responsible course. From the early stages of the relocation, first planned in 2003, Martha Jefferson reps met with the neighbors and included them as much as possible in the transition. Before making the sale, Martha Jefferson promised to respect the single-family neighborhood and restore some old offices to the housing stock. It also agreed to go along with the historic design district, which placed even greater burdens on the new owner, Octagon Partners (see No. 12).
Haden’s power may now be waning because of the MJH “merger” this month with Sentara Healthcare.
9. BISCUIT AND GRAVY
Hunter Craig, Real Estate Developer
Biscuit Run may have been a bust as far as developments go, but Hunter Craig, one of the investors in the deal, still has plenty of cachet. As a founder and vice president at the more robust of the local banks, Virginia National Bank, his influence is considerable. In 2008, with an economic downturn firmly underway, he bought the Wachovia and Bank of America buildings on the Downtown Mall for a dirt cheap $100 and $114 per square foot, respectively.
These days, he has a spot on the Board of Visitors at UVA, which means he holds the reins on Teresa Sullivan (No. 1). And his relationship with Capshaw (No. 3), who was also a Biscuit Run investor, still seems strong enough, as they are both behind the new Whole Foods development that opened earlier this month.
10. PUT ME IN, COACH
Craig Littlepage, UVA Athletic Director
Coran Capshaw (No. 3) has his collection of venues, but Craig Littlepage presides over the biggest show in town—UVA athletics. Under his 10-year tenure, athletic funding has more than doubled, rising to $51 million annually from $23 million. It’s Littlepage who hires and fires the UVA employees with the fattest paychecks. (The football and basketball head coaches command at least $3.4 million in combined compensation.) And despite their mediocre records, home football and basketball games drew cumulative attendance of just under 500,000. If Littlepage hires Mike London and Tony Bennett turn out to be successful, athletic revenue could skyrocket.
If they don’t, then that’s the chink in Littlepage’s armor. Promoted to Athletic Director in 2001, Littlepage has survived the rocky tenures of previous football coach Al Groh and basketball coach Dave Leitao, but attendance, revenue and winning percentages all need to rise before Littlepage sits totally secure.
Still, with 23 other sports, Littlepage has some insulation. He helped convince the Board of Visitors in 2001 to invest in underperforming sports like tennis and baseball, and those programs—helmed by coaches Brian Boland and Brian O’Connor, who Littlepage hired—have been among the top nationally for several years now. UVA sports programs have won six team national championships and 47 ACC championships during the past nine years, and the current graduation rate among student-athletes is 93 percent.
A former UPenn basketball player, Littlepage tells C-VILLE that being a student-athlete taught him to always have a “Plan B.”
“You’re always preparing to adjust to various unexpected situations that competition brings,” says Littlepage. And the success of UVA’s small-revenue sports could be just the plan he needs to maintain his power.
11. “CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?”
Tom Foley, Albemarle County Executive
Though Tom Foley is new to his current job, taking over only this January, he’s not new to Albemarle County government. In fact, former County Executive Bob Tucker had Foley as his right-hand man for 11 years, when Foley served as Tucker’s assistant exec.
Along with the title, Foley got nearly 600 full-time county employees, control of a general fund budget that totals roughly $215 million, and the concerns of a population that grew by 25 percent during the last decade. He also inherited a gaggle of unresolved city-county issues that, according to Mayor Dave Norris (No. 4) had turned Charlottesville and Albemarle into “squabbling children.”
But despite long-running arguments over the community water supply plan and the Meadow Creek Parkway, Foley says he thinks Albemarle and Charlottesville have “a good relationship, overall,” and adds that he and City Manager Maurice Jones, his Charlottesville counterpart, “have developed a good relationship.”
“Working regionally is always more challenging and time consuming, and may not be the answer in every instance,” Foley tells C-VILLE. “But I believe it pays off overall.”
And while some Albemarle officials (namely Ken Boyd, No. 2) have recently expressed fear for the county government’s independence, Foley seems comfy in his seat.
“‘Big government’ is not an issue in Albemarle as far as I’m concerned,” he says. And he would be the first to know if it was.
12. DR. OCTAGON’S RX FOR MARTHA JEFFERSON
J.P. Williamson, Real estate developer, Octagon Partners
There are several redevelopment sites that could have huge impacts on the city, such as the Frank Ix building or the various West Main lots on the endless transition of “Midtown.” However, none seem as likely to have the same long-lasting influence as the former Martha Jefferson Hospital site, which local real estate development firm Octagon Partners took control of this year. As a founding partner, Charlottesville native J.P. Williamson is at the forefront of a redevelopment effort that could transform the Martha Jefferson Neighborhood. Indeed, last week the CFA Institute announced a $24.5 million investment in the site as its future center of operations.
Octagon has proven itself by completing complex projects even in the midst of the great recession. Whatever issues anyone may have about the Gleason project on Garrett Street, Octagon completed it in a time where projects all over the Downtown Mall were stalling (cough, Landmark Hotel, cough).
Octagon also pushed through a renovation of the Hardware Store, which houses medical publisher Silverchair on the upper floors and Urban Outfitters on the bottom. And for Williamson, also a founding partner of investment firm Benevolent Capital Partners, that’s just part of the list. Add the Seasons at Wintergreen, parts of Hollymead Town Center, and the conversion of apartments to 47 condos at Monticello Overlook, and Octagon Partners could be players in Charlottesville for years to come, if Williamson so desires.
13. SHAKING THE MONEY TREE AT UVA
Thomas Skalak, UVA Vice President of Research
It’s hard to put a price tag on Thomas Skalak, but after UVA’s top advocate for innovation nearly lifted off for California Polytechnic, we imagine that UVA will do its best. It’s harder yet to quantify the value of Skalak’s work, which exists in the spaces between the research, development and commercialization of groundbreaking technologies.
Skalak directs the UVA Translational Research Partnership, a well-funded program that forms reciprocal (and, it’s hoped, financially beneficial) relationships between biomedical engineers and clinicians. Translational research, however, is the private side of Skalak’s collaborative impulse: In 2008, Skalak launched the UVA Venture Summit, which attracts venture capitalists to Charlottesville for two days of pitch meetings with the Universitys most viable innovators.
“In the first year, we showcased six UVA-derived companies, and all six received capital of about $11 million within 12 months,” Skalak tells C-VILLE. “And that was in the worst economic recession of more than 60 years.” The potential funding is even greater: This year’s summit attracted venture capitalists with a combined investment power of roughly $20 billion.
Why is Skalak powerful in Charlottesville? Many of those start-ups stay local—a particular boon, given a Research and Development Tax Credit passed by Governor Bob McDonnell. HemoShear, which uses targeted blood flow to recreate certain cell behaviors for tests, attracted $5 million in angel investments and occupies 8,000-square-feet of local lab space. Other start-ups like HemoSonics and Global Cell Solutions have remained in the area—a benefit, says Skalak, “because recruiting the top talent in a global economy to Charlottesville requires this kind of example and ecosystem.”
“When good ideas are made visible, capital markets respond,” Skalak adds. And, thanks to his work, those ideas are being made visible here.
14. TIME TO TALK TIF
Aubrey Watts, Director of Economic Development, City of Charlottesville
“Talk to Aubrey.” That’s the refrain around City Hall when somebody wants to get things done, and though it might be just because he can be hard to reach, Aubrey Watts has been around a long time. The departure last year of longtime City Manager Gary O’Connell no doubt increased Watts’ wattage, at least until the new city manager, Maurice Jones, gets fully acclimated.
A 49-year veteran of local government work, Watts distinguishes between the leadership of elected officials and the power of staff members that act directly upon the city. “I sometimes think of myself at the hub of a big switching station, an old-time telephone operator that matches people up to get things done,” says Watts. While he’s heard locals and colleagues call him a “go-to guy,” Watts instead calls himself an “upfront guy.”
“I don’t like for people to spend a lot of time and money on a project that may not happen because of something they’re not aware of in the marketplace,” he says.
The sheer fact that developer Bill Atwood appears to be on course to finish his Waterhouse project is a testament to Watts’ power. Atwood attributes Waterhouse’s viability to Watts, who proposed a tax-increment financing (TIF) model for the building that will give the developer a 50-percent share of real property tax revenue generated by the project, provided Atwood could secure all funding and ensure a timely construction.
Now, thanks to Watts, TIF may become the essential tool for ambitious developers. Watts told C-VILLE in August that the Economic Development Authority would approve other TIF arrangements on a project-by-project basis. Since then, J.P. Williamson (No. 12) secured a similar agreement for Octagon Partners’ Martha Jefferson redevelopment plans, and Southern Development VP Charlie Armstrong has mentioned an interest in making TIF work for his William Taylor Plaza project. For other developers, the message seems clear: “Talk to Aubrey.”
15. UM, LET ME CHECK WITH MY SPOUSE
L.F. & Susan Payne, All-around Power Couple
Much of L.F. Payne’s power is exercised not in Charlottesville but on K Street, where he works as president of McGuireWoods Consulting, advising powerful clients about how to get what they want from the federal government. But L.F., who is a former Democratic Fifth District congressman and who developed Wintergreen, still wields plenty of power in town.
At UVA, he is a member of the Board of Visitors along with No. 9 Hunter Craig, which gives him leverage over No. 1 Teresa Sullivan. His Rolodex also proved useful when Craig, Coran Capshaw (No. 3) and other Biscuit Run investors needed then-Governor Tim Kaine’s help getting the massive development project off their books. Kaine said that it was L.F. who first notified him that Biscuit Run developers wanted to donate it to the state, and his support was crucial, as C-VILLE revealed in a feature story last year.
But it’s not clear that L.F. is the most powerful person in local affairs in his own household. His wife, Susan, runs the Payne Ross media, advertising and public relations firm, which represents most of the local bigwigs when they want to get something done, from Hunter Craig (No. 9) to Halsey Minor, before his Landmark tower fell idle. Susan also played a large supporting role in Tom Perriello’s congressional campaign. During his “farewell” tour, Perriello stopped his speech midway through to give a special shout-out to Susan.
16. THE POWER OF THE PRESS (RELEASE)
Carol Wood, UVA Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs
UVA is unusually tight lipped. But in May, President Sullivan’s Chief of Staff, Nancy Rivers, remarked that “perhaps no other employee here has a more direct impact on the University’s reputation” than Carol Wood, the woman who makes that mouth sing, smile or snap shut.
Behind the scenes, Wood is the node through which flows all official communication at UVA—a University that hasn’t lacked for high profile coverage with the murders of Morgan Harrington and Yeardley Love, the Michael Mann document hunts, and the uproar at the Virginia Quarterly Review following a staff suicide. Whether the subject is budgets, crime, architecture or labor relations, it’s Wood who formulates the answer. As much as anyone, she is in the position to train Sullivan (No. 1) and guide her public outreach.
“I guess I would say it’s more the position than the person,” Wood says of her influence. “I always try to base my responses on institutional core values…and to be as transparent and respectful as possible in presenting the University’s view.”
However, a little personal expertise doesn’t hurt. A former journalist, Wood also knows the game from the media’s perspective. “I have a great deal of respect for many reporters. It’s a tough business made tougher over the past decade,” she tells C-VILLE. “But since I have moved from a position in a newsroom to the receiving end, I have developed some pretty strong opinions on the news business today.” For better or worse, she knows where we’re coming from.
17. NOT IN MY HOUSE YOU WON’T
Joy Johnson, Public Housing Association of Residents
The powerful often find it convenient to overlook the poor—or try to shuffle them out of the way. Going back decades, Joy Johnson, a board member on Charlottesville’s Public Housing Association of Residents (PHAR), has been this city’s most consistent voice in making sure that the poor have some agency in the process.
Over the last decade, Johnson, who has lived in Westhaven since 1983, has been the most consistent (and tireless) advocate among public housing residents for inclusion in the process. Johnson got involved with the Westhaven Tenants Association after the city Housing Authority decided to increase deposit requirements to $100 and asked current residents to make up the difference—“a decision that I thought was unfair,” she told C-VILLE in 2009. The city dropped its back payment request.
One of the area’s biggest development stories is the redevelopment of Westhaven and the rest of the city’s public housing stock. Johnson holds many of the cards at the table: Thanks in part to her advocacy through PHAR, City Council approved an eight-point public housing resident’s “Bill of Rights” in 2008. The bill stipulates that residents, currently 885 within the seven sites, have a say in the redevelopment process, that current residents won’t be displaced, and that they have priority for new units. More recently, PHAR received a $150,000-plus grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to assist job search services. When Alex Gulotta, director of Legal Aid Justice Center, came to Charlottesville in the early 1990s, he said that Johnson was at the top of the “people to meet” list. “At the time she was the most visible and vocal advocate for low-income housing in the community,” he told C-VILLE in 2003. In short: When Johnson speaks, people listen.
18. MINING FOR COAL AND CONSERVATIVES
Richard Baxter Gilliam, Local conservative donor
Money and politics are, at times, synonyms. Locally, a single source of support has backed Republican candidates with hefty sums. Enter Richard Baxter Gilliam. Since 2001, Gilliam has given Republican State Delegate Rob Bell $77,500, more than any other single donor.
Former Congressman Tom Perriello came very close to winning reelection in 2009. Who helped defeat him? Give some credit to Gilliam. In 2010, he gave at least $250,000 to Republican strategist Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, a nonprofit organization “dedicated to renewing America’s commitment to individual liberty.” If you think the GOP led House is important and influential, then Gilliam is one of the most influential locals in making that happen.
Where did he get all that cash? Gilliam founded Cumberland Resources, one of the largest privately-held coal producers in the United States, then sold his company to Massey Energy for $960 million. Nevertheless, he seems to keep a low profile, and did not return calls for comment.
19. YOUR TUITION BILL JUST ARRIVED
David Lourie, Head of School at St. Anne’s-Belfield
Where do many of the rich and powerful —notably those with national sway like John Grisham and Howie Long—send their children? St. Anne’s-Belfield, the 100-year-old day and boarding school. David Lourie has headmastered STAB since 2006, and brought the kind of fundraising chops you’d expect to find in a university president. Under Lourie, the school announced last year that it had raised just north of $44 million, against a $40 million goal. The capital campaign (STAB’s first) increased the endowment eightfold, to $17 million from $2 million.
The endowment will help the school maintain its aggressive financial aid programs. (STAB is hoping to play down its reputation as a place for rich white kids, dropping about $4.2 million per year providing financial aid to 40 percent of students.) But it’s also going to help the school create a university vibe, with a new pre-school and a Center for Arts & Sciences for the Upper School. Other changes on tap include uniforms for every student and an iPad for every teacher. Lourie’s crowning achievement? A $30 million re-do of the lower campus for grades K-8, an effort that will help STAB maintain its place for schooling the powerful among the next generation of your kids’ bosses.
Who does Lourie himself think the most powerful person is in town? “That’s easy—my wife, Sarah,” he wrote in an e-mail.
20. THIS OLD HOUSE
Leslie Greene Bowman, President of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation
Leslie Greene Bowman isn’t the most well-paid, nor the most visible, nonprofit leader in Charlottesville. But as president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, she holds the reins at the house that keeps out-of-towners paying for a visit to the trough: Monticello.
TJ’s pad still brings 450,000 people to town each year, and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation brought in almost $20 million in revenue in 2008. Bowman hasn’t made any moves to match those of her predecessor, Dan Jordan (the new $43 million visitor’s center opened just days after Jordan retired) but she’s hinting at how she’ll make her mark: by opening the doors to volunteers, renting out the property for special events, and restoring where Monticello’s less famous residents lived, on Mulberry Row. In a town where Jefferson still keeps watch, that makes her plenty powerful.